The second part of the title is a phrase the commentator used today when talking about Freiburg’s Çağlar Söyüncü. And he wasn’t wrong, it was a typical Söyüncü afternoon and indeed that later turned out to apply to the whole game. As he usually does he had a pretty good game, winning most of his challenges and battles until that is he made a mistake and gave away a penalty. Which wasn’t actually given because of an earlier handball. That’s right a VAR decision actually went in Freiburg’s favour. With that I was thinking just maybe things were going their way. But of course it wasn’t to be and Alfred Finnbogason had other ideas. Last weekend Freiburg came from 3-0 down to beat Köln so there was no reason why they couldn’t do that in Augsburg, unfortunately things happened a little differently today. Before the game started there was a little bit of snow in the air and I foolishly hoped it maybe provide some good luck. Snow didn’t stick and unfortunately neither did Freiburg’s luck.
Had they won it would have been three victories in a row. But even without having won it’s still five games without defeat, that’s not the worst way to end the year. And of course they’re not in the relegation zone, finishing the first half of the season in 13th place. So today isn’t without it’s good points, though the fact they yet again conceded three goals makes it a little hard to enjoy the silver lining of the situation.There is however something about today I had no trouble enjoying and that is the delightful little Christmas greetings video from the highlights show. That was most definitely a nice little early Christmas gift to get. I’m not the only who got a gift early today either, Köln also got one, finally winning a game. Seventeenth time’s a charm I guess, they beat Wolfsburg 1-0.
Of all the things I expected to happen today that wasn’t one of them. I know it doesn’t sound good when you go into a game like this unsure if your team can win or not, but I didn’t want to curse anything by thinking about winning at all. I honestly thought they would draw and well they almost did. Were it not for Nils Petersen’s last minute penalty it would have been a 3-3 draw, and quite a spectacular one too. Freiburg came back to win 4-3 and that’s great, but it doesn’t mean they won’t be relegated. Those three goals they conceded are exactly why relegation is still a very real threat. That was their way of playing in the 2.Bundesliga in 2015/16, don’t worry if you concede two, we’ll just go and score three more. They’ve always been partial to a very open style of play, which isn’t to say they can’t be disciplined defensively. Their 0-0 draw against Dortmund earlier in the season proves that, a result all the more impressive for the fact they played the majority of the game with ten men. That open kind of play worked when they had players like Maximilian Philipp and Vincenzo Grifo around. But they left in the summer for Dortmund and Gladbach, taking some of the magic. their goals and more importantly their assists with them.
I don’t even know what today’s game was, it was crazy that’s for sure. And it’s proof that whatever they do Köln are doomed, they threw away a three goal lead, you can’t draw any other conclusion. Then again this game didn’t doom them, that was already done several match-days ago. There remains only one question, can they really go a whole Bundesliga season without winning a single game? Today’s game brought back a lot of memories, like the equally crazy (but much better to watch) snow game against Leipzig in the 2015/16 season. And of course their first game of that season against 1.FC Nürnberg. which was Nil’s first league game as a proper Freiburg player. A game in which he scored a hat-trick and just like today two of them were penalties. In fact Nils scored a hat-trick in his first ever game for Freiburg as well, against Eintracht Frankfurt.
Speaking of memories there was a very familiar face at today’s game, though not a very happy one obviously:
As happy as I am they won I don’t feel like I can celebrate, not only because they’re still in danger of relegation but the game seems to be reflective of how their season is going and life in general. They can’t go on conceding goals at the rate they have, not even if they start scoring some themselves. On the subject of unexpected events the confirmation of the sacking of Peter Bosz wasn’t one of them. The announcement of his replacement the very same day however was, not just the fact they did so quickly but who it was. They’ve switched one Peter for another, Dortmund’s temporary coach until the end of the season being none other than former Köln coach Peter Stöger. I don’t think anyone saw that coming.
I still can’t find a word other than crazy to describe today’s game but I know one thing, I really needed today. It was exciting, infuriating and intense. But most of all it was fun and for those two hours the game was on things felt like they used to do, like when I first started watching them. They were struggling then and they’re struggling now, so it’s not that they’ve changed, it’s me. But I don’t want to reflect on that now or anything else serious or real life related, today was fun and that’s enough. For once I just want something to be simple. Today’s game was anything but simple but the joy I derived from it was exactly that. No obsessing over what I’m doing and why, no wondering if maybe I’m not too obsessed and shouldn’t I be spending time with other people instead of stuck in my room alone. Today none of that mattered. Today there was the game and nothing else.